Sweet are the uses of adversity, which like the toad, ugly and venomous, wears yet a precious jewel in his head.

William Shakespeare, in As You Like It

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I had a call yesterday from a dear childhood friend who spoke to me about a troubling conversation he had with his younger sister.  His sister is a child of the 60’s.  She works at a community college in the West.  He is a Harvard grad, a Navy vet and a retired banker. She elected not to attend college, having been drawn to the freestyle life of a back-to-the-earth “flower child.”

It seems that she expressed great fear that the new Secretary of Education would abolish her job – yes, her particular job.

Her brother probed for evidence to support the fear.  He found none.  He tried to counsel her that her worry seemed unfounded.  He spoke to her of signs of a recovering economy and federal concerns about the secondary and public school setting – especially the failing schools in the inner city.  She did not relent.  He knew she was rigidly clinging to her fear.

He asked me if I could explain her irrational disposition.  I offered that she and many like her were diminished by Leftist ideology and its “world view” which traps people in a small narrative and fear that “others” wish them ill and they need protection offered by the State, by law and by the political party which gladly and relentlessly makes them dependents so they might remain in power and enjoy the free ride of elective office or government work with their privileges and lifetime pensions with guaranteed annual increases.

This conversation called to mind social psychologist Jonathan Haidt’s book The Happiness Hypothesis in which he points out in writing about adversity “that we might be dangerously overprotecting our children, offering them lives of bland safety … while depriving them of the ‘critical incidents’ that would help them to grow strong …”

This seems to me to be part of the fatal nature of the Left and its Nanny State dependence – which so reduces people to “precious” snowflakes unable to accept those people and events that do not square with their immature views.